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beer and food Snacks to beer

Snacks to Beer — kepta duona

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Kepta duona frying in a pan.In Lithuania, most bars serve a selection of what they call “užkandžiai prie alaus” — literally, “snacks to beer”.

After a very nice tour of the country a few years ago, we got into the habit of referring to a whole range of peculiar foods you only ever eat with beer as “snacks to beer”.

This post is the first in occasional series on what we think are the very best nibbles to accompany booze. Expect to see pretzels, pork scratchings and a Spanish delicacy we call “chicken tikka fish” covered in the future.

But for now, it’s only fitting that we start with the original snack to beer — Lithuanian “kepta duona”.

It’s not remotely fancy, it’s not good for you, but it’s a great snack to beer for several reasons. Firstly, it’s salty and oily. Now, I know greasy is good is bad for your beer. It makes it go flat. But, frankly, who cares — it just works. Secondly, you can eat it with your fingers. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it soaks up booze…

If you fancy making what is, in effect, slightly burned garlic fried bread, our best attempt at a recipe is after the jump…

We couldn’t find a recipe online so we made one up. But, I mean, how hard can it be to fry some bread? So, here goes with our best guess, which turned out pretty well.

Ingredients

– 1 small loaf of rye bread
– caraway seeds
– cooking oil
– 1-2 cloves of garlic
– salt

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1. Cut some rye bread into fingers (or “soldiers” for those of you who like a dippy egg). It’s easy to get rye bread in London now, because Polish and Lithuanian migrants have established a demand. If you can’t get it, any dark brown bread — wholemeal, or maybe even something with nuts in — should do the job.

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2. Rub each finger with a crushed garlic clove. One clove will do ten or so fingers before it disintegrates in your fingers.

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3. Heat some oil in a pan. Get it smoking hot. You’ll want about four or five tablespoons for ten fingers of bread. We used olive oil, because we’re complete ponces, but I suspect the Lithuanians use pork dripping…

4. Sprinkle in some caraway seeds – about half a teaspoon. They’ll snap, crackle and pop.

5. Lay the bread carefully in the oil and leave it on one side for 1-2 minutes.

6. Turn it all over. It should almost be turning black. Sprinkle quite liberally with salt.

7. After another minute or so, tip the whole lot out onto a piece of kitchen towel to drain.

8. Serve on a small plate, with a big glass of fizzy lager. The picture below hardly does it justice — the smell is fantastic.

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If anyone wants to correct our recipe, we’d be delighted to hear your suggestions. Also, why not let us know your favourite “snacks to beer”…?

21 replies on “Snacks to Beer — kepta duona”

I was in Vilnius and there’s a great tiny little restaurant in downtown (near the town hall, left at the funky 4-way statue, past the bar, past the graffiti, on the corner) that served all kinds of traditional things. One was the fried bread.
It came with a garlicky sauce that was just too good to be real. I spent the lions share of my time in that bar and then following hordes of drunken lithuanians into that café.
I suppose this sauce is made of the garlic used in prep and some mayonnaise, if you’re using caraway seeds, maybe some of the oil it was fried in could be emulsified with some garlic, no?
I definietely suggest a trip to Vilnius, if you haven’t been.

Thanks for dropping by, Landonas. Yes, we went a few years ago, and loved it. In fact, there’s where we first tried KD. I’ll try the garlic mayo idea next time I make it.

The traditional recipe is to first fry then rub with garlic and salt it. It can be half slices and it doesn’t have to be black burnt. Garlic sauce is nice, but some like it better with thick soft melted cheese sauce.

While Kepta duona is an everyday snack, everyone should try smoked pig’s ears. Nasty as it sounds, it looks good and it’s my absolute favorite snack to beer (or, Snack With Bear as I saw it once put in the English menu translation). Again it can be served in several ways – such as a whole smoked, boiled and sticky ear with porridge as a dish, or the preferred way – crisp, sliced and spicy, with some caraway seeds – as served in Avilys Ale House, both in Vilnius and Kaunas.

As for other countries, I love the Nakladny Hermelin marinated cheese and onion snack served in pivnicas of Czech Republik.

I’m just commenting to say thanks. In Social Studies I’m doing a project on Lithuania (since I lived there I got that asignment in class) as extra credit we could make a food from the cou ntry and bring it to the class.
This helped me so much!

The best way to have Kepta Duona is to mix mayonnaise and cheese and melt it on top of the fried bread. In most places in Lithuania, that is how it is served.

As Ona stated, you forgot that Kepta Duona is served with real mayonnaise and parmesan cheese, which is typically mixed and melted over the fried bread or served in a separate bowl for dipping. It is best to use Kosher salt and fresh garlic, but in any form, this beer snack is a gem for anyone who would like to compliment a European beer. To stay true to the snack, it is best enjoyed with Svyturys Ekstra beer.

dear Lithuanian people, or people who are not originally from Lithuania, but currently be present at the great land of Lithuania,

we, people who’ve been there, and done it(tasting “the” Kepta Duona, the most delicious appetizer, i mean) are in a great hunger for this delicious dish. we know there’s bread involved, we know there’s garlic, cheese and mayonnaise involved. but we are not hundred percent sure about the doses of these delicacies. how much mayonnaise should I use? should I fry the bread in olive oil or in some other oil? should I also add the garlic in oil too? later on should I put the breads and mayonnaise+cheese into oven? what kind of cheese should I use? or should I use sour cream(I don’t remember the Lithuanian name for this, I know it’s a little different from the sour cream) instead of mayonnaise?

these questions are still waiting to be answered -maybe by you cute Lithuanian girl, *wink*- very nice people of Lithuania. please help us.

Something about a person begging for a recipe I just can’t ignore. 🙂
This is quite a rough estimate, so feel free to experiment a bit with the quantities.
So, for half a loaf of bread, you’d want 2-3 cloves of garlic, ~100-150 grams of cheese, two-three tablespoons of mayo. Use the way of preparation as described above, though the preferred oil is sunflower oil (or linen seed oil, though that is quite a rarity). When you have the bread baked, grate the cheese and mix it with the mayo (if you want, you can add some garlic for taste). Then put the mix on top of the bread and pop it into the microwave for 1-2 minutes. That’s it. Grab some toothpicks (easiest way to eat it without getting your hands all cheesy 🙂 ) and dig in. ? sveikat?! 🙂

The picture doesnt do it justice~ I tried with my home-baked bread that was going a little crusty and it was great! Thanks! 😉

Hey all. I was just sitting here munching freshly made “kepta duona”, with a glass of some namibian beer. Tried to do a research on google for “favourite beer snacks of nations”. Unlucky.
. There is one essential mistake in the recipie above: the bread must be fried first, and as it comes out from the frying pan, it must be rubbed plenty with a piece of peeled garlic. Must rub it while bread is hot as well. That’s the secret. Don’t put any garlic in oil etc.

I just returned from Lithuania and was mentioning this fantastic snack to my boyfriend. He found your site and I was thrilled. They actually have a garlic product made by Kraft that looks just like the mayo squirt bottle. I could see the grated parmesan cheese that was mixed into this sauce and then sparingly squirted onto the sticks of fried bread. The fried bread was was stacked with the fried bread slices arranged as if whole slices with the strips going in in opposite directions with each slice -verticle and horizontal. I can confirm that the raw garlic cloves are rubbed on the freshly fried hot bread. This stuff is sooo good!!

hey there…

a small correction… you need to rub garlic onto the bread after it is cooked and still hot :]

[…] Step 4: Fry the bread ‘fingers’ on med-high heat, a minute or so on each side. Don’t crowd the pan. (Warning; watch you pan; could trigger the smoke alarm! Recipe courtesy of Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog. […]

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